This May, as health clubs across the country open their doors for free and become the Gateway to Healthy Living during the fifth annual Get Active America! month, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women's Health (OWH) will be promoting prevention as part of National Women's Health Week 2008.


Together, on Mothers Day (May 11), the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), its participating member health clubs and OWH will kick off the WOMAN Challenge (Women and girls Out Moving Across the Nation) an eight-week physical fitness challenge that encourages women to get 10,000 steps or 30 minutes of exercise each day.


Combined, these programs will bring information and inspiration to tens of thousands, helping them see how active, healthy living can bring better health and a happier frame of mind.


WHO:    International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)


WHAT:   As part of its 5th Annual Get Active America! initiative, IHRSA and its participating member health clubs will help OWH promote the WOMAN Challenge and National Womens Health Week by integrating them into the clubs exercise programs and by encouraging club members and guests to participate in treadmill classes, neighborhood walks, and/or other fitness activities supporting the womens health initiative.


WHEN:  Get Active America! Highlight Dates


May 11, 2008:     The WOMAN Challenge: The kick-off of an eight-week physical fitness challenge that encourages women to get 10,000 steps or 30 minutes of exercise each day. The Challenge kicks off on Mothers Day, the start of National Women's Health Week, and allows women to track their steps online. (See for more information.)


May 12, 2008:      National Women's Check-Up Day: This nationwide effort, coordinated by OWH, encourages women to visit health care professionals to receive or schedule a check-up, which can play a vital role in prevention and early detection of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases and other conditions. (See for more information.)


May 12-15, 2008:   Bring a Friend

Health clubs nationwide invite current members to bring in their friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers so they too can experience the health and quality-of-life benefits of exercise for free!


May 16-18, 2008:  Open House

Health clubs nationwide open their doors to their communities for free to help Americans learn how they can live more physically active and healthier lives.


Each participating health club will create its own supplemental menu of events to take place during the month of May. Events may range from useful health-related classes and seminars to organized walks to community service drives in support of local charities.


WHERE:  At participating health clubs across the United States. See for a listing.


The Importance of Get Active America! and National Womens Health Week


§         Light to moderate activities such as walking (one to two or more hours per week) reduces the risk of coronary heart disease in women by 14- 52%.

§         Older women who walk a minimum of 1.5 hours a week have significantly better cognitive function and 20% lower risk for cognitive decline than women who do not exercise.

§         Women who engage in regular physical activity before pregnancy have a lower risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.


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